East Texas man dies while trying to put fire out

By Whitney Grunder - email

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office has confirmed a Garrison man has died in an outside fire which got out of control.

Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss said Bill Franklin Smith, 78, was burning brush outside his home on County Road 282 when the fire got out of control, around 2 p.m. Kerss said initial reports indicate Smith tried to put the fire out and either suffered smoke inhalation or a heart attack and died.

Smith's body was found in the yard with a rake in his hands.

The fire eventually burned the house. Kerss said the dry conditions played a part in the fire getting out of control.

"It certainly played a part in it," Kerss said. "Even when the county is not under a burn ban, you still have to evaluate the circumstances to determine if you can safely do so or not."

Kerss said Smith lived at the house by himself.

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